20. Oct 16

Piracy and trademark violations on the rise

Piracy and copyright infringements are on the increase. As such, it is all the more important to take appropriate measures to protect one’s trademarks and intellectual property.

GRP Rainer Lawyers and Tax Advisors in Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London conclude: According to a recent study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the number of illegal dealings with counterfeit products is increasing globally and constitutes 2.5 per cent of world trade. The damage to the economy is enormous.

These figures even encompass an announcement from customs at Frankfurt Airport stating that between March 29 and May 9, 2016 alone they took 15.6 tons of counterfeit goods out of circulation. The 137 counterfeit brands were said to have had a market value of just under 25 million euros. Among the counterfeit products were shoes, bags, clothing, sunglasses and technical accessories.

The affected companies whose products have been counterfeited are being hit twice. In addition to the financial loss, there is also the prospect of damage being done to their image; while the pirated products are frequently of a lower quality than the originals, consumers are often completely unaware that they have been taken in by counterfeits.

In light of these figures, trademark protection and a consistent approach in response to trademark violations are set to become more and more important for businesses. The crucial point is to enter trademarks onto the relevant registers. In doing so, one needs to consider the desired territorial application for trademark protection, e.g. whether this only applies to Germany, within the European Union, or to other countries as well. Given the looming threat of Brexit, it may be the case that trademark rights will have to be registered again in the UK. It is only in relation to trademarks which have been registered that consistent action can be taken against violations of trademark law and punishment dished out. Injunction suits and damages claims are just some of the consequences that can then follow from this.

Qualified lawyers can advise on all matters pertaining to intellectual property law. Aside from trademark law, this also encompasses, in particular, competition law, patent law as well as copyright law.

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